Feb 022012
 

With the NHL Trade deadline a little less than a month from now, speculation is heating up.

Actually, that is a bit of an understatement. Speculation isn’t just heating up, it’s already reached a good rolling boil. We’ve entered the silly season of trade rumours people, where Ryan Getzlaf could be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, you know, just ‘cuz.

It’s not just fans or the media that can get swept up in the euphoria that is the trade talk. General Managers can too. With that in mind, here are the four worst trade decisions that could be made by a General Manager in the NHL today.

 4. Trade Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets

Granted, Carter has had a difficult first season in Columbus. He’s looked lethargic when he’s been healthy (which hasn’t been nearly as much as the team had hoped).  

Carter remains a one-shot scorer though and a first-line centre talent. He’s the type of player you rarely find on the trade market (the last first line centre to be traded was Joe Thornton back in 2005-06).  

In Carter, Rick Nash and Ryan Johansen, there is a good offensive core in place in Columbus. God knows there are other teams trying to build around less up front (cough Phoenix, Florida, Winnipeg to name three cough cough).

Now it could be that the Blue Jackets just want to save themselves some money and get Carter’s $5.27 million off the books. This is incredibly short-sighted thinking. The Blue Jackets need wins to generate revenues. They need talent on the roster to produce wins. Eventually, that talent gets paid, and scoring talent of Carter’s ilk can get a lot more expensive than $5.27 million a season.

Moving Carter doesn’t get the Blue Jackets anywhere closer to wins in the short-term, and is not guaranteed to save them much money in the long-term.

In short – it would be a trade that doesn’t make much sense.  

3. Trade Ryan Miller from the Buffalo Sabres

At one point, it could be argued he was the best goalie in the game, but these days Ryan Miller is pretty, pretty, pretty average . His performance and outspokenness has made him a lightning rod in Buffalo where pre-season optimism has turned into a season-long nightmare.

A great goaltender gives an NHL team a chance to win every night, and turns poor or mediocre teams in all other areas into playoff participants. Miller was once great – there’s no question he could be great again. The smart move in Buffalo would be to consider goaltending “secure” (Jhonas Enroth is a talented youngster who’s earned more time in the crease) and address other needs.

You know, like the Swiss Cheese defense of Tyler Myers, Christian Ehrhoff and Robyn Regehr that would have trouble defending against a minor bantam team some nights.  

2. Trade PK Subban from the Montreal Canadiens

PK Subban isn’t your typical NHL player – he’s colourful, opinionated and openly confident – and this has frequently contradicted with the conservative, conformist culture established by the Canadiens in the era of Bob Gainey, Jacques Martin and Pierre Gauthier.

There are few NHL defencemen that offer the same combination of physical gifts, offensive instincts and passion for the big moment as Subban does. He will be an NHL star, and will one day find himself in Norris consideration.

You can count the number of Stanley Cups won by teams without a strong offensive defenseman on one hand. Trading Subban would be akin to the Canadiens admitting they don’t have any plans to truly compete for a Stanley Cup in the near future.  

1. Trade Brendan Morrow from the Dallas Stars

For all the hulabaloo about trading Jarome Iginla from Calgary, the potential trade of Brendan Morrow from Dallas would be the bigger mistake.

Uncertain Stars ownership has wrecked havoc on the franchise’s off-ice fortunes. Now, with new owner Tom Gaglardi in the mix, the team needs to re-establish its relationship with the Dallas community.

Morrow is an obvious, important player around which to build this new relationship. He’s one of the few remaining links to the championship-calibre teams Dallas iced in the late 90s and early 2000s. Moreover, he is the type of character leader that can shape and inspire not only a locker room, but a fan base.

With one of the lowest payrolls in the league, the Stars don’t need to jettison salary. They should move other pieces before moving their captain.

THOUGHTS ON THE FLY

  • According to John Shannon on Prime Time Sports last week, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise are best of friends. Does anyone else smell another Teemu Selanne-Paul Kariya-esque situation developing for these two future UFAs?
  • The Sidney Crosby “fracture-no fracture-concussions-no concussion” story sounds more and more like the Eric Lindros situation in Philadelphia every day. There’s no reason to think relationships are poisoned between Crosby and the Penguins, but this certainly makes one wonder how the next contract negotiations between the team and its star player will go in 2013.
  • Let’s all give Alex Radulov the benefit of the doubt here – we all see the bug on his coach’s neck, right? (Editor’s note: Note that the coach behind Radulov was not his head coach, but the goalie coach.)
  • Given that the Winter Classic is also a huge event for league sponsors, the NHL All-Star Game should move to the start of the season. This would give the Winter Classic even more prominence mid-season, and would create a special “kick-off” event for the NHL to start its year. I’d even be in favour of returning to a Stanley Cup champions versus NHL All-Stars format in a neutral site (say Europe).
  • Does Mikhail Grabovski look like a $5 million player? Because that’s what the UFA market is likely to pay him. This is also why it would be of no surprise to see the Leafs either trade their second-line centre at the deadline, or walk away from him on July 1st. He is too inconsistent to be paid like a top-four player.
  • Speaking of the Maple Leafs, the more you watch Nazem Kadri play, the more it seems his best work at the NHL level will come playing for a team other than Toronto. Kadri needs consistent top-six ice time to grow his game, and he won’t get that playing for a team competing for a playoff spot right now.
  • The New York Rangers pass around a fedora to the team’s best player post-game. The St. Louis Blues? A weiner hat. Classic.
  • Sorry Blackhawks fans, but Brendan Morrison isn’t the answer to your second-line centre dilemma. He adds some nice depth as a complimentary, offensive player, but a regular contribution in a top-six role is asking far too much.
  • Finally, I cannot recommend Behind the Moves enough for anyone who loves the business of hockey. Here’s a nice review from over at dobberhockey.
Oct 042010
 

[As we approach the start of the NHL regular season, members of the Canucks blogosphere give their two cents about your Vancouver Canucks and address the issues, questions and expectations of the team in their 40th year anniversary.]

Bill Sweatt, Vancouver Canucks

You won’t receive a lot of argument here if you say that this preseason was relatively boring. With a stacked roster, the Canucks had few openings. And of the players fighting for those jobs, no one stood out more than the others.

Still, some players managed to move themselves up or down the Canucks’ depth chart. Alex Bolduc and Guillaume Desbiens look like they’re going to make the team’s opening night roster, while Shane O’Brien and Darcy Hordichuk played their way down to Manitoba.

In an otherwise uneventful preseason, who did we think made the biggest impression?

J.J.: IMHO, the Sweatt brothers improved their stock considerably this preseason. What Lee lacks in size, he makes up for in speed, smarts and the ability to make the right play and move the puck quickly out of the zone. He’s smaller than the prototypical NHL defenseman, but he showed that he’s not scared to mix it up with the big boys in the corners. Billy obviously has big-league skill and big-league wheels. What he lacks is big-league finish. Much like Mason Raymond did a couple of years ago, hopefully Billy can work on this in Manitoba. I think he’s played himself into consideration to be one of this year’s first call-ups.

Richard: The Canucks have so much depth they don’t need to look at prospects to fill holes this year. That said, Victor Oreskovich’s play in the preseason and the way he’s used his size is something that’s definitely moved him up. The Canucks have lacked bottom-six size for years and Oreskovich, when he eventually makes the team, will be a welcome fit.

Chris: I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but Andrew Alberts of all people has helped himself find his way into the 6th or 7th defensive spot. He’s shown that if given the appropriate number of minutes (say five or six.. okay.. maybe a few more), he’s a relatively decent addition to the blueline. If he were ever able to figure out what the word discipline means, and maybe understand how to better use his size in a manner that doesn’t draw the attention of the zebras, he’d be a beast of a player to see in front of you.

Sean from Nucks Misconduct: Alexandre Bolduc and Tanner Glass were terrific. They have earned roster spots. I liked Peter Schaefer more and more as preseason went along, but we shall see what Gillis and company have planned for him soon enough. Brendan Morrison played so well and it’s unfortunate he didn’t make the squad. But, management knows best. I still like the team moving forward.

Oct 032010
 

Word came out this morning that Brendan Morrison has been released from his professional tryout contract with the Vancouver Canucks.

I think Morrison did well this preseason to prove that he can still play at the NHL level. In fact, he played well enough to garner interest from other teams around the league.

It would’ve been nice for Morrison to return and play for the Canucks for at least one more season. Especially in a year when the Canucks are considered legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, it would’ve been cool to see him don the blue and green.

But sentiment is one thing and putting together the right mix to win a Stanley Cup is another.

This isn’t to say that Morrison wouldn’t have helped them. I think he brings some key elements to the table – i.e. speed, versatility, two-way game – but the Canucks obviously wanted to go with a different mix. The Canucks wanted a bit more grit and toughness from the fourth line, and perhaps, Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault both feel that guys like Alex Bolduc and Guillaume Desbiens fill those roles better.

The business side of things have a say too. Remember that the Canucks are tight against the cap and limited in terms of how much they can offer him on a contract. Know that other teams can – and are willing to – offer him more money. Sure he could’ve signed with the Canucks but he would’ve left a lot of money on the table, and at 35 years old and the downswing of his career, I don’t (won’t) blame him if he decides to take the bigger offer.

Add it all up and you just knew that signing him was a difficult proposition.

We’ll see if both sides made the right decision.

Oct 012010
 

With just one preseason game left tonight against the Anaheim Ducks, the Vancouver Canucks still have several personnel decisions to make about their opening night lineup.

From Jason Botchford (Vancouver Province):

The preseason means nothing. But it’s a lot easier to take when it’s about something.

If not winning games, then winning jobs. If not answering questions, then narrowing them. At the least, you hope for unexpected moments or look for unheralded players. You want to see them force difficult decisions. But not because there’s an abundance of safe, mundane, low-rish play. You want gusto and accomplishment. Reach for the brass ring, and who knows, maybe you’ll grab a second-line winger’s spot. Goodness knows, no one else has.

And when the Canucks finally do make their decisions after tonight, expect the salary cap to have played a major role.

And where do the Canucks stack against the salary cap?

First, a primer:

  • The salary cap for the 2010/2011 season is $59.4 million.
  • A team’s salary cap hit is calculated on a daily basis. This season, there are 186 days in the regular season.
  • That means that each team has a daily cap allowance of $319,354.84 (or $59.4 million divided by 186).
  • Placing a player on LTIR does not give teams more cap space. The LTIR player’s cap hit still counts against the team’s cap; however, teams are given some relief (i.e. exemption) and are allowed to go over the cap by a similar amount when replacing him on the roster.
  • The LTIR exemption cannot be banked – the amount not used on any given day doesn’t carry over for use the next day.

Here are the Canucks’ current cap numbers, including the players who I think, for all intents and purposes, are guaranteed to make the team.

PlayerAnnual Average SalaryDaily Cap Hit
Henrik Sedin$6,100,000.00$32,795.70
Daniel Sedin$6,100,000.00$32,795.70
Mikael Samuelsson$2,500,000.00$13,440.86
Alex Burrows$2,000,000.00$10,752.69
Ryan Kesler$5,000,000.00$26,881.72
Mason Raymond$2,550,000.00$13,709.68
Manny Malhotra$2,500,000.00$13,440.86
Raffi Torres$1,000,000.00$5,376.34
Jannik Hansen$825,000.00$4,435.48
Rick Rypien$550,000.00$2,956.99
Sami Salo$3,500,000.00$18,817.20
Dan Hamhuis$4,500,000.00$24,193.55
Keith Ballard$4,200,000.00$22,580.65
Alex Edler$3,250,000.00$17,473.12
Christian Ehrhoff$3,100,000.00$16,666.67
Kevin Bieksa$3,750,000.00$20,161.29
Shane O'Brien$1,600,000.00$8,602.15
Andrew Alberts$1,050,000.00$5,645.16
Aaron Rome$750,000.00$4,032.26
Roberto Luongo$5,333,333.00$28,673.83
Cory Schneider$900,000.00$4,838.71
Carryover$90,000.00$483.87
$61,148,333.00$328,754.48

As you can see, the Canucks already have $61,148,333.00 ($328,754.48 per day) committed to 10 forwards (including Burrows), 9 defensemen (including Salo) and the goaltenders. Assuming that they want to start the season carrying 13 forwards, 8 defensemen, and Alex Burrows and Sami Salo on LTIR, that means they still have to add 4 forwards.

Here are the players fighting for those 4 forward spots.

PlayerAnnual Average SalaryDaily Cap Hit
Jeff Tambellini$500,000.00$2,688.17
Tanner Glass$625,000.00$3,360.22
Victor Oreskovich$575,000.00$3,091.40
Brendan Morrison*$750,000.00$4,032.26
Peter Schaeffer*$750,000.00$4,032.26
Joel Perrault$510,000.00$2,741.94
Guillame Desbiens$550,000.00$2,956.99
Alex Bolduc$500,000.00$2,688.17
Darcy Hordichuk$775,000.00$4,166.67

The Canucks will get some (temporary) cap relief by placing Burrows and Salo on LTIR. By doing so, they can exceed their daily cap amount by $29,569.89 (Burrows’ $10,752.69 + Salo’s $18,817.20) each day both are on LTIR. This means that, at least to start the season, the Canucks can spend $348,924.73 per day in player salaries.

The good news is, any combination of 4 bubble players won’t push the Canucks past their daily cap allowance. Even assuming Brendan Morrison and/or Peter Schaeffer are willing to sign for close to what Eric Belanger signed for in Phoenix ($750,000) – if either or both make the team – the Canucks can keep everyone on the roster and won’t spend more than $348,924.73 in daily salaries.

What does complicate things, however, is that, unless there are further changes to the roster (i.e. trades), the Canucks will most certainly exceed the daily cap allowance of $319,354.84 before the LTIR exemptions. This is important because if the Canucks want flexibility during the season – whether it’s to replace injured players or adding players at the trade deadline – they need to be under this amount and “save” cap space. The cumulative amount they save every day – i.e. the total amounts under $319,354.84 that they don’t use on any given day – is the amount in cap savings they can spend later in the season.

As an example, if the Canucks want to acquire a $2 million player at the trade deadline, they need to either get rid of a player making a similar amount from their roster, or have accumulated roughly $500,000 in cap savings. The latter requires them to have saved approximately $3,700 per day – i.e. they need to have only spent an average of $315,600 of their daily cap allowance – from the start of the regular season to the trade deadline. If you do the math, the Canucks need to shave about $28,000 in daily salaries from their current roster to get there. And if you look at the numbers, Kevin Bieksa’s and Shane O’Brien’s salaries add up pretty darn close to this amount.

Two points on this:

1) This is exactly why Salo’s injury sucks. While his LTIR status helps the Canucks get temporary cap relief, his salary still counts against the cap. If Salo was healthy, the Canucks could’ve iced a bottom-pairing with one of Salo or Keith Ballard on one side and one of Andrew Alberts or Aaron Rome on the other. What is more likely now – or certainly what may make more sense given their cap situation – is that the bottom pair will have one of O’Brien or Alberts on one side and Rome on the other.

2) Given point no. 1, the bigger decision for the Canucks will be on defense. There may be more roster spots up for grabs up front, but regardless of which forwards end up filling those spots, their cumulative impact on the salary cap is minimal. (In fact, I don’t see any salary cap impediment to signing Morrison to a contract.) If the Canucks want some cap flexibility during the season, the bigger moves to be made are on the back end where the big salaries are.

To put these points into context, it’s worth noting that the Canucks entered the last postseason with O’Brien, Alberts and Rome as their no. 5 to 7 defensemen; with Salo injured to start the season and Bieksa and O’Brien possibly on the trading block, the Canucks could enter this season with Alberts, Rome and Lee Sweatt in those depth positions. (Which then begs the question as to whether or not the Canucks actually have a deeper defense this year.)

Now, it’s possible that Mike Gillis and Laurence Gilman feel comfortable operating over the salary cap and the Canucks don’t end up making any moves before the start of the season other than to send the bubble players to Winnipeg. Certainly, they can keep the depth they have now, though in the process they’ll have to sacrifice some flexibility during the season.

Sep 292010
 

A while ago Sports Illustrated came out with a “Separated at Birth, NHL Style” album which showcased NHL players with their celebrity look alikes. The list includes Luongo and the Twins and even has former Canucks captain Markus Naslund on it. With the recent re-arrival of Morrison to Vancouver someone pointed out to me that he has a look alike of his own so with a little Canucks flavour.

Brendan Morrison and Finn Hudson

Sports Illustrated should consider adding Brendan Morrison and Cory Monteith aka Finn Hudson from the show Glee to that list. Any other Canucks look alikes that you think are out there?

Sep 202010
 

In this week’s edition of “Ask Katie About The Canucks”, Katie tackles questions on ex-Canucks, ex-NHL teams, boy bands, Bieksa and the “C”.

Stephanie (@axeguitar) asks: Who do you think the other three Ring of Honour nights will feature?

Katie: I would like to say Todd Bertuzzi, Mark Donnelly and the Green Men but I’m probably going to be wrong… Maybe Pavel Bure since they’re not retiring his jersey (what a lot of controversy THAT caused). I would also assume Kirk McLean will be honoured by the Canucks at some point.

Fiann asks: How will Morrison and Schaefer fit into the Canucks?

Katie: This is a conversation most Canucks fans and the media are having right now. Personally I think Schaefer is too small (he’s 5’11” 190lbs) and hasn’t played in the NHL for a couple of seasons so his career seems to be over, whereas BMo is fit, had 42 pts last season for the Capitals and will be much needed on the ice in terms of his discipline and leadership skills. I don’t really think Schaefer has a shot, but it was nice of Gillis to invite him to training camp. Brendan is another story: from how things are looking, the entire team and management seem to be excited about putting Morrison back in his old Canucks jersey. Mind you, Morrison would have to take a significant decrease in pay and ice time, but at 35, it seems he doesn’t mind, so long as he gets to play for his hometown team again at the end of his career. Brendan would mostly likely start on the fourth line as a centreman, and possibly move up to the third if he earns a spot. The fourth line can really use his level-headed decisions and leadership since that line was a complete undisciplined disaster last season. If there was a bad line change and the fourth was up against, say, the first line on the Penguins, we wouldn’t all have to scream at the TV and think “it’s all over” because BMo will be out there, ensuring rational decisions were made by his linemates. That’s where he’s valuable.

Hanson

Josh asks: Will the band Hanson sing the national anthem on opening night?

Katie: That would pretty much make my life, but since they’re American, I don’t think so.

John asks:  Were Winnipeg to achieve their dream and find themselves back in the NHL, what chance do you see for the Victoria Salmon Kings to move up to be the AHL affiliate of the Canucks?

Katie:  Understanding the relationships between the ECHL, AHL and NHL isn’t my strong point. From what I do know, successful players on the Salmon Kings have the possibility to move up to the Manitoba Moose and then onto the Canucks.  If the Jets return to Winnipeg, that doesn’t mean their NHL team will automatically take over the Moose, and I don’t think the ECHL can easily move to the ranks of an AHL team. They’re different leagues all together. I think it’s more complicated than that. I don’t know. I think I’ve gone cross eyed.

(Editor’s note: Players can be called up to the Canucks as long as they are signed to an NHL contract. – J.J.)

Jay asks: Why do they call Bieksa “Juice”? And will the captaincy removal and the new goalie coach make a big difference in Lui’s performance?

Katie: I like to think Bieksa is called Juice because he slams four litres of Hawaiian Punch before a game, but apparently it’s because his body is ridiculously ripped (not that I’d know). 

I do hope that relinquishing the C will give Luongo the peace of mind and concentration he needs to mentally prepare for games, and that this will improve his performance this year, but it’s hard to say. This is why he is going to be under even more scrutiny this year by fans, circling like vultures to see if the C situation last season was the cause of his average performance or if it was an excuse.

I don’t know much about the new goalie coach aside from the fact that Luongo’s opinion wasn’t even sought about the decision. Either way, I think all of us will be hoping that last season was just a stroke of bad luck for Luongo, and can be left behind us.

Sep 182010
 

The CHB crew are up here in Penticton for Canucks training camp. The 58-man camp kicked off today and here are some things I noticed from day 1:

  • Eddie Lack looked good. The 6’5″ goaltender is the tallest of those checking into camp and covered a lot of space in net. Given Cory Schneider is likely going to be Luongo’s back up, Lack looks poised to take that starter’s position with the Moose.
  • Billy Sweatt (Canucks fans’ newest favourite Twitterer – follow him at @billysweatt) looked very good out there. He’s got great speed and seemed to always have the puck stick to his stick. He reminds me a lot of Mason Raymond from a few years ago. He doesn’t have any finish but if he can work on that aspect of his game. The kid could have a big year on the farm.
  • The Canucks bottom-six looks like it’s going to get bigger this year. Malhotra, Torres and Oreskovich are all upgrades on some of the players that filled bottom-six roles last year. The Canucks needed to get bigger and Gillis has done a god job of bringing in players that meet that requirement with sacrificing skill and speed. Torres looks mean, Malhotra looked good in some face-off drills, and Oreskovich was skating very well for a guy of his size. He also managed to plaster Billy Sweatt along the boards. The guy is going to bruise and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he made the Canucks fourth line.
  • Brendan Morrison was getting feisty when he had to. It was clear he’s here to take his PTO to the next level and the general buzz in the locker room is that he’s going to make this team. He brings a lot of leadership to the table and I’d go as far as say that I wouldn’t be surprised if he was given an ‘A’ if he makes the team.
  • Peter Schaefer, the other interesting invite to camp, didn’t look out of place. After training with Peter Twist for the last year, he seems as quick as ever.
  • On defense, Lee Sweatt and Dan Hamhuis looked particularly good. At one point, Sweatt, who loses four inches to Hamhuis, laid him out, picked up the puck and fired a laser under Louie’s glove. I know it’s just training camp, but it still looked good.
  • Hodgson skated with the Canucks C group that took no contact. This group included Alex Burrows Prab Rai, Steven Anthony and Shawn Weller amongst others. Jordan Schroeder, the other prospect everyone has their eyes on was almost invisible. He skated with the Canucks A group in the morning and was barely noticeable.
  • Sergei Shirokov continues to fly under the radar. He was out and skating, but without the hype surrounding him last year he just quietly did his thing without standing out.
  • After watching Andrew Alberts skate today I’ve come to the following conclusion: For a big guy he can skate really well. He’s a perfect number six or seven defenseman, however the Canucks moved him up to the fourth and fifth spot last year which placed him out of his comfort zone and amplified his flaws. His size would be a huge attribute to the blue line if we weren’t so stacked but he really didn’t look as bad as on the ice as he did last year.
Sep 182010
 

If there was one prevailing sentiment at the first day of Canucks training camp here in Penticton, it’s that Canucks fans want Brendan Morrison to make the team. To a man, everyone we talked to thought his two-way game, faceoff ability and veteran leadership will fit in nicely with the current group Gillis has assembled. Certainly, they thought B-Mo, who is here only on a professional tryout, has more than enough game left to beat out some of the other candidates for the team’s bottom-six.

On the ice – wearing his old no. 7 by the way – Morrison didn’t look out of place. He skated with a group that included Bill Sweatt and Jeff Tambellini, and kept up with them just fine. He battled hard along the boards against much bigger guys like Victor Oreskvich and came out with the puck and made plays. Maybe he’s not the same Morrison from a few years ago, but he at least looks capable of winning a job. And I know it was only the first day of camp, but certainly a lot of people are pulling for him to do so.

Sep 162010
 

With a much deeper roster, it may seem at first glance that inviting Brendan Morrison to Canucks training camp in Penticton this weekend is nothing more than giving a hometown, ex-Canuck an opportunity to showcase what he has left in the tank for other teams. After looking over his numbers from last year, however, I wonder now if he has a legitimate shot of making this team.

At 35, there’s no doubt that B-Mo’s best days are behind him. Once the NHL’s ironman, he’s been saddled with various injuries in recent years, though it’s worth noting he bounced back nicely by appearing in 81 games for the Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks in 2008/2009 and 74 games for the Washington Capitals in 2009/2010. He showed he can still contribute too; with the Capitals, he averaged more than 15 minutes per game and recorded 42 points (12 goals – 30 assists) while playing, at times, with Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin.

But there are a couple of other stats that might interest the Canucks.

Morrison was one of the NHL’s better faceoff men last season. He took the 60th most faceoffs (978) in the NHL last season, and finished 36th in faceoff percentage (51.2%) and 52nd in faceoff wins (501).

He was also his usual solid self in his own end of the ice. According to Behind the Net, he was only on the ice for 28 even-strength goals against all last season or 1.82 ESGA/60 minutes – both numbers are among the lowest in the league. Granted, he didn’t play regularly against the opposing teams’ top offensive players, but he won’t either if he makes this Canucks team.

While there are a lot of bodies competing for spots on the team’s bottom-six, there isn’t one player who stands out who could potentially fill Ryan Johnson’s vacated fourth-line center spot. Certainly, Rick Rypien, Joel Perrault and Alex Bolduc would be in the mix, but you can’t tell me they’d outplay B-Mo in that role. If you subscribe to the theory that Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault want a fourth line center who can log some minutes, win faceoffs, don’t take penalties and don’t get scored on – much like Ryan Johnson was counted on to do the last couple of seasons – Morrison may, in fact, be a good fit here.

Morrison already calls Vancouver – okay, Coquitlam – his home. But after a couple of years playing in Anaheim, Dallas and Washington, wouldn’t it be something if he could come back and play here again too?

%d bloggers like this: